ICYMI Paying for College Discussions: From State Schools to Alumni Interviews

Top Discussions

ICYMI Paying for College Discussions: From State Schools to Alumni Interviews

Published December 15, 2019

Top Discussions


Here are some of the top discussions in our Paying For College 101 Facebook group  during the past year.

(And if you want to read more about these discussions, you’ll have to join the Paying For College 101 group.)


Paying for College Discussions

Does Your Family Have a Plan B?

Attending college next fall may not even be possible! It’s too expensive, even with the merit aid received, for a middle-class family in New Hampshire whose daughter applied to several “out of reach (financially) schools and refused to apply to cheaper schools.”

350 plus parents jumped in to empathize with and offer advice to this mom who says she is “feeling really down.” How about looking at colleges with later in the winter, ongoing or rolling application deadlines? Community college for a year? Gap year, then applying again?

Other parents emphasized the importance of making sure your child applies to several “economic safety schools.”

Want to read the tips that parents offered to this unhappy mom? Read more here. 

State Schools vs. Private Colleges? Is One Better Than the Other?

Why does it seem like state schools are the last choice?” asks a California mom new to the college process.

Short answer: they aren’t!

In fact, state schools are often terrific first choices according to the more than 400 parents commenting on this post.

Parents in California offered the questioning mom a wealth of information on various California state colleges, shared information on concerns particular to the California system including impacted majors, graduate rates and the WUE (the Western Undergraduate Exchange system which permits participating public universities in Western states to grant reduced out-of-state tuition to each other’s students.)

Is your teen thinking of applying to a state university? Read more here. 

How to Handle an Alumni College Admissions Interview?

Questions You Never Knew You Had:  Who pays? Should my son treat the alumni interviewer at the local Starbucks to his coffee?

Answer: Whoever comes in first orders, pays for own coffee, then second person orders, pays for his. One parent who’s also an alumni interviewer for her colleagues said she’d never had a student offer to pay and if they did, she’d politely decline.

Another parent smartly suggested the student arrive 15 minutes early and have the coffee in hand when the alumni interviewer arrives. Other parents chimed in on related topics  – what to wear, what to ask, what not to ask and how do alumni interviews work.

If your son or daughter might have an upcoming alumni interview, you’ll want to see what these parents had to say. Read more here. 

Also check out these articles to help your student prepare for their interviews:

How To Prepare and What To Wear To An College Interview

College Interview Questions 101

Questions You Can Expect on a College Interview

How to Whittle Down a Long List of Colleges to Visit?

A Louisiana mom planning a March trip with her high school sophomore son, a U.S. history buff, to tour colleges in and near Baltimore, Washington, DC and Virginia asked for help in scaling back her long and possibly overly-ambitious college list.

More than 170 Paying for College 101 parents shared their knowledge about visiting, applying and possibly getting admitted to American University, Catholic University, Georgetown University and George Washington University in DC as well as George Mason University, University of Richmond, William and Mary, and Christopher Newport in Virginia.

Lots of helpful info and opinions on what colleges to keep on her list and which ones to drop – and why.

Read more here. 

Summer Ideas for High School Students

“Should your high school junior take free summer classes at the community college OR travel out west?” asks a North Carolina mom about her high G.P.A./high test score son. He can’t do both. 

More than 200 parents responded to this one. And the nearly unanimous answer? Travel!

“Classes will always be there; what’s the rush?” commented one mom and another said “Travel. You will never regret it.”

Yet one parent pointed out that earning college credits while still in high school can help you advance to a higher course level once you get to college (find out more about how and why to earn college credits while still in high school).

Join the debate! – college junior summer travel v.s. free summer college classes? Read more here.

Get more ideas for summer activities for high school students.


Pay it Forward. Members Share Their Advice on College Admissions and Paying for College

To Parents with Students already in College: What are you glad you did, regret you didn’t do, or wish you knew last year? asks a mom from New Jersey.

And what good advice did now-that-my-kid-is-in-college Parents have to offer? A huge variety of practical suggestions.

“Insist on colleges that were affordable.”

“Do not get caught up in the name game.”

“Know the stats on awarding merit and need money.”

“Look at off-campus housing prices ahead of time.”

“File FAFSA every year.”

“Analyze the meal plan costs.”

“Sign up for airline credit card to get points for student travel home.”

“Rent textbooks instead of buying them.”

“Look for additional scholarship opportunities once you are a student there.”

“Start in January picking up dorm items on clearance for next fall.”

“Understand how important their college major is.”

And – “Expect tuition to go up every year and plan for that.”

Don’t miss to all of the excellent pieces of advice from parents of kids now in college. Read more here. 








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Top discussions in our Paying For College 101 Facebook group for the weeks of 12/15 – 12/31/18…   Dilemma of...

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